Monday, July 11, 2011

OMB Review of Inventory Update Rule Complete - Expects to Publish Soon

After a long and anxious wait, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has finally completed its review of EPA's inventory update reporting rule (IUR) changes.  The delay in OMB review had caused EPA to suspend the reporting period, which was supposed to have run from June 1 to September 30, 2011.  The proposed rule revised the amounts and types of information that chemical manufacturers and others had to report to EPA under the IUR.  While OMB hasn't released its findings yet, it appears they will approve the rule but recommend some changes.

Basically the IUR is designed to provide EPA with key information on chemical production and processing in the United States.  The data companies are required to submit includes information that can help EPA - and the public - assess exposure to the chemicals that are on the reporting list.  These data, along with hazard data such as toxicity and environmental fate information, are used to identify potential risks to the public.

Since OMB does not expect to publish their findings for several days or even weeks, EPA must wait before they can set a new reporting deadline.  In the past EPA representatives have tried to ease industry anxiety by insisting there would be adequate lead time for companies to collect the information needed prior to a new reporting period.  Obviously, most of the data that need to be submitted are the same as has been done by industry for several previous IUR reporting periods, and with the EPA changes already identified in the proposed rule, industry should already be in a position to start collecting data.  Because of the OMB delay, EPA will likely be under pressure to set the new reporting period sooner rather than later to avoid disrupting the next cycle of IUR reporting, so it would behoove companies to start the process internally while waiting for publication.

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